How To

November 24, 2011

Silver Efex Pro 2 For Color Photos



ilver Efex Pro 2 from NIK Software is a leading plugin for Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture for black and white photography bringing tremendous help to convert color photos to black and white with a wide collection of settings to let the photographer achieve the result he wants. It really offers the digital darkroom equivalent to the wet darkroom most photographers still do remember.

But there is more to Silver Efex Pro than black and white photography. The wide collection of settings allows also post processing color photos. I do use this plugin mainly on color landscape photos to render more dramatic skies and bring out more details and this is what I would like to show here.

Out of camera photo (Kwando River)

Within Photoshop, call the Silver Efex Pro plugin which creates a layer where it will put the results and presents the user interface with a preview. The user can choose among given presets on the left and adjust the parameters on the right or define own presets. These presets and parameters do act on the whole photo. Silver Efex Pro brings also a technique called “Control Points” to adjust settings locally. Simply press “Add Control Point” and put the point where it should affect the photo. Then, adjust the area on which the control point takes effect and adjust brightness, contrast, structure and set black and white levels. On the initial photo, I selected the preset “Full Dynamic (harsh)” and added 2 control points in the clouds to increase contrast and reduce brightness:

Silver Efex Pro 2

With the OK button, the plugin takes all settings and renders the resulting black and white photo in the layer it created before opening. This black and white photo will act as luminosity layer for the color photo underneath by changing the layer type to Luminosity:

Silver Efex Pro 2

The effect looks in general over processed, so use the opacity setting to achieve the desired effect:

Black and White result as Luminosity Layer

The resulting post processed photo:


Here is another example I achieved with Silver Efex Pro on a Eurofighter photo taken during an airshow in the rain. I used the plugin to increase the contrast of the plane and bring out the contrails above the wings:



While the main usage of Silver Efex Pro is for black and white photography, I would not want to miss it when processing color photos. If you have photoshop, give this plugin a try, a free trial is available. Nik Software does also offer a vast choice of tutorials and helds webinars on a regular basis to show and explain their excellent tools.

Did you enjoy this article? If so, please click on our Facebook Like button and visit our page on FB too.

Interested in becoming part of our IMPress Staff? Would you like to cover major trade shows, concerts, sports and travel and have your articles appears on IMPress just like the ones you have just read?

If you would, then visit our main site at and find out how.

Subscribe To Our Feed and be alerted to our new articles by email.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the Author

Dominique Schreckling
Dominique Schreckling
IPA Staff ID: 06617 • I live in the french speaking part of Switzerland, near Lake Geneva. I am a freelance photojournalist focusing mainly on events photography (music festivals, sports events and trade shows) and travel photography. An overview of my photographic work over the last few years can be seen under

Article Feed


International Beauty Show 2019 Draws Thousands

ach year we attend the International Beauty Show, with a sense of discovery. We ask ourselves, what will be the next big trend for the beauty industry this year? We also wonder if they can top the previous years shows in both e...
by Len Rapoport


New York Times Travel Show 2019-NYC

2019 NY Times Travel Show...At IPA and IMPress Magazine we are all about travel. Our sister company Travel Pavilion, is our travel agency business.  Our fantastic website offers our original articles, photos, and videos fr...
by Len Rapoport


Make Healthy “Georgie Meatloaf” For Your Dog 2019

Our recipe for the healthiest and freshest dog food on the internet. We call it Georgie Meatloaf after our dogs name and it has been tested by over 39,000 readers and viewers of our popular YouTube video. Find out how you can ...
by Len Rapoport



PhotoPlus 2018, The Photo Industry Evolves

PDN PhotoPlus Expo 2018 showcased new and exciting photo and video gear. This year we filmed part of our video with our iPhone 8+ and a Rode Mobile Interview Kit.
by Len Rapoport


Just Bought A 2018 Kia Optima-Find Out Why

As a writer, photojournalist and editor of four online publications, I am always looking for new content to publish on our websites.  Since I don’t drive many miles each year and had two older vehicles a 2001 Lexus a...
by Len Rapoport



2018 QuickChek Festival of Ballooning

2018 QuickChek Festival of Ballooning   ” 2018 QuickChek Festival of Ballooning” is the largest summertime hot air balloon and music festival in North America and is the premier family entertainment attrac...
by Len Rapoport



Be the first to comment!

You must be logged in to post a comment.

%d bloggers like this: